Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Reviewed on 2009 August 21
This is the latest Quentin Tarantino über-hip splatterfest, and this time he sets his sites set on the Nazis. Get your snacks during the endless parade of coming attractions: this thing has a 153 minute run time. Being a Tarantino movie, it’s broken into stylized chapters, but it’s an elegant veneer wrapped around a brutal war film that I almost felt guilty about enjoying.
After a wrenching beginning, we’re introduced in the second chapter to Lieutenant Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt, looking scruffy and obviously having a good time here), who wants nothing more than to slay as many Nazis as possible. He recruits a team of Jewish Allied soldiers that quickly earn their nickname “The Basterds”, thanks to, among other things, their habit of taking (and leaving) souvenirs when they infiltrate Nazi troops. His secret weapon is Sargeant Donny Donowitz (Eli Roth, and from what I’ve seen here he’s a better actor than director), and all I’ll tell you about him is that after seeing him in action, some German soldiers started whispering that he was some sort of Golem. On a good day the Basterds can wipe out a company of Nazis, but as luck would have it, Raine may soon have a chance to beat his own record in France.
It’s good, though so far I think it’s my least favorite Tarantino movie because it’s SO bloody. Saving Private Ryan didn’t make me look away; sometimes this did. When Aldo Raine says he wants “a hundred Naaat-zee scalps” he’s not joking. I did have one other problem with the movie, but in this instance divulging it would entail a spoiler. And speaking of spoilers: if you don’t want them, do not read the Richard Corliss review of this in TIME. Lots of stuff is blabbed, including a juicy tidbit spilled in the headline. Overall it worked, from the dialogue to the intricate storyline to the soundtrack. Lots of it was in German and even more in French, and that’s okay because the subtitles were beautifully done. And the purple-faced, choleric Hitler was the icing on the cake.
Three chocolate morsels. Although I feel a bit sheepish about it.